Elections Information

On February 6, 2019, City Council voted to place two measures on the ballot for the May 21, 2019 election:  A motor vehicle fuel tax and amendments to the City Charter.

  1. Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax
  2. City Charter Amendments

QUESTION: Should Grants Pass impose a 3-cent per gallon motor vehicle fuel tax, replacing the current Transportation Utility Fee?

SUMMARY: The measure would impose a 3-cent-per-gallon motor vehicle fuel tax. Pursuant to the Oregon Constitution, any revenues derived from such tax shall be used exclusively for the construction, reconstruction, improvement, repair, maintenance, operation and use of public highways, roads, streets and roadside rest areas, as well as the cost of administration of such tax and for the retirement of any bonds for which fuel tax revenues have been pledged. If approved, the motor vehicle fuel tax would replace the existing Transportation Utility Fee.

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT FOR MEASURE: PROPOSED MOTOR VEHICLE FUEL TAX.

This ballot measure will impose a 3-cent-per-gallon tax on motor vehicle fuels sold within the city limits of Grants Pass. Proceeds from this fuel tax are estimated to be approximately $1,484,094 per year. The motor vehicle fuel tax will replace the City’s Transportation Utility Fee, which nets the City approximately $966,444. Under Oregon law, net revenue from the fuel tax may be spent only on construction, reconstruction, improvement, repair, maintenance, operation and use of city streets.

Over 87.5% of Grants Pass’s street mileage have not been resurfaced in more than 20 years. Allocation of funds will be prioritized based on need and age of streets citywide. The City currently has $71,596,014 of unfunded street maintenance and repair needs.

The City currently budgets $500,000 per year for repair and overlay maintenance. The City’s per year repair and overlay maintenance needs are $4,400,000.

The City Council has determined that a motor vehicle fuel tax is a preferable alternative to the current Transportation Utility Fee. Visitors and residents alike will contribute to the motor vehicle fuel tax, rather than just residents. It is estimated that the majority of fuel sold in Grants Pass is purchased by non-residents.

The current Transportation Utility Fee is $3.68 per month per residence, which is increased annually by the Cost of Living Index. The average household uses 91 gallons of motor vehicle fuel per month. Under the tax, if implemented, the average household would spend approximately $2.73 per month in lieu of the current $3.68 per month under the transportation utility fee, while street maintenance funds would increase by approximately $500,000 per year.

If approved, Council shall remove the Transportation Utility Fee.

A “yes” vote would impose the motor vehicle fuel tax and remove the Transportation Utility Fee. A “no” vote would reject the motor vehicle fuel tax.